Hospital Infection Resulting in Anoxic Brain Injury: $3 Million Settlement

2012 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Woman suffers anoxic injury to the brain as a result of developing septic shock from an undiagnosed infection in her shoulder

On 2/17/06, the plaintiff underwent surgery on her shoulder and knee. She developed an infection which required her to be hospitalized for an extended period of time. Because of deconditioning, she was sent to the defendant rehabilitation center after her hospital stay in order to regain her strength. After about 1 week, she began complaining of severe pain in her shoulder with a moderate amount of drainage at the site of her recent surgery. She was also noted to have a temperature and had a pulse of 102. There was no evidence that the nurses at the facility contacted the doctor or nurse practitioner caring for the plaintiff.

The following day, a nurse noted that there was increased yellow-green drainage from the shoulder wound. The nurse practitioner defendant was notified and came to see the plaintiff the next day. When the nurse practitioner saw the plaintiff, she noted a large amount of drainage and that the shoulder dressing was saturated. However, there was no call to the physician and no antibiotics started by the nurse practitioner.

The following day, the plaintiff was noted again to have a temperature, and she had a pulse of 112. The plaintiff continued to have yellow-green drainage from her should wound but again the nurses failed to inform the plaintiff’s physician and failed to request antibiotics for the plaintiff.

The next morning, the plaintiff was found unresponsive. The ambulance personnel documented that her shoulder was draining a brownish fluid that had a foul odor. Upon arrival to the ER, she was determined to be in shock with a brain injury and renal failure. The shoulder fluid was cultured and showed an infection present. The plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed with an anoxic injury to the brain as a result of developing septic shock from her undiagnosed infection in her shoulder. The plaintiff remains completely dependent on care takers for all of her activities of daily living.

The plaintiff was expected to present expert medical testimony that the defendants were negligent in their failure to recognize that the plaintiff had an infection in her shoulder and their failure to administer antibiotics which would have controlled the infection.

The defense was expected to present testimony that they acted appropriately and the she didn’t have a major infection until the last day and the outcome could not have been prevented.

The case settled for $3,000,000.

Lubin & Meyer represented the plaintiff in this lawsuit. (Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. and Robert M. Higgins)

Questions about a hospital acquired infection?

According to the CDC, approximately "1 in 25 U.S. hospital patients is diagnosed with at least one infection related to hospital care." If you believe you or a loved on suffered serious harm due to a hospital infection that required additional medical care, hospitalization, or death, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Our medical malpractice attorneys can review your case to see if you may be able to file a claim in MA, NH or RI. If you have questions about a possible medical malpractice lawsuit related to a hospital infection, surgical error, please contact us.

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